Bowling for Dollars

Weens is Jordan Cohen

Weens is Jordan Cohen

Weens rolled a 278 last night.  That’s a pretty solid performance.   When you consider all the leagues that are rolled night after night it’s not groundbreaking, but it’s still impressive.  It should be noted that he took the perfect game into the 10th which is damn near the most anticipation that can be had.   It starts to get interesting around the 6th strike.  There were also 0 Jersey strikes in this feat.  Big Urn tried to save face in this game as I knew it was going to be a pic.

weens

The man, the myth, the legend…with a little dog.

To add to this story, we all threw in 10 bucks of which half goes to the person with the high game and half to the person with the high series.  In dramatic fashion, Weens ended up overtaking Mugsey for the high series by about 5 pins.  His final series was 1,000 pins after 5 games for an exact 200 average.  There you go Weens, an entire blog post dedicated to your feat.  One of the pluses of bowling with a blogger.  Oh yeah, Jkash was there too after we didn’t invite him about 5 times in  row. Adam bowled 3 quality games.  Evan and myself did nothing noteworthy.

Hicham El Guerrouj -1 Mile World Record 3:43:13

hichamelguerroujfastestmile

So fast he’s a blur

Hicham El Guerrouj’s mile time is a world record that has held strong for almost 16 years. There have been 5 men who have been in the 3:46 club and 1 who has run 3:44. HOWEVER, the top 2 mile times to ever be recorded happened in the same race below, both in the 3:43 range. My question, and reason for posting this, is there anyway this World Record would have been set without the 2 men pushing each other to times that haven’t been touched, well, ever since?  Competition at its finest.

 

Fastest Mile Times in Chart Form

 

Does the mile still matter?
So, the big question… Is the mile still relevant today?

Nick Willis: “It is still relevant, particularly in North America, Australia and New Zealand. It is important for the casual fan because people understand a sub-four minute mile. A 3:38 1500m doesn’t mean anything to most people. I still believe the mile should be used as a means to reach to the masses.

“The biggest challenge [to the mile’s status] is that mile times are not recognised as qualification times for the 1500m at major championships, even though translated times for 1500m to the mile are very accurate.”

Will Leer: “Absolutely. People in a crowd can connect with a mile more than they can with the 1500m. Everyone in America had the same experience as me. They all ran it in gym class. The mile has an ability to connect with the people who aren’t as intricately woven into our world as we are.”

John Walker: “It is still relevant, because there are so few top mile races in the world. There are only about three top mile races, so it is very special and in countries like England and New Zealand, it is still very important.”

McDonald’s You Dirty Dog!

What Changes to Expect at McDonald’s

  • McDonald's Logo

    I’m Lovin It

    Change the way it sears its beef so that its burger patties are juicer

  • Warm its burger buns because warm buns = more delicious
  • Build more side by side drive through lanes to speed up service
  • Train employees to increase the accuracy of orders
    • Order takers now must repeat the entire order to customers and ask if it’s correct. Cashiers are then to repeat the first food item in the order and verify its accuracy. “Do this by asking, ‘Hi, does your order include a Big Mac no cheese?’” states a 31-page instruction manual on the new procedures
  • This McDonalds kid gets it

    What Europe thinks America looks like

    Launch a mobile app

  • Expect higher quality food but don’t stray too far from Big Macs and Nuggets which make up 40% of revenue
    • Milk in happy meals will be free of artificial growth hormones
    • Stop selling chicken in the US made from birds raised with antibiotics

 

McDonald’s Quandries

McDonalds is a $93 billion dollar company and its stock is trading near it’s all time high.  With around $27 billion in revenue the last 3 years the company only netted $4.7 BILLION last year vs $5.5 the 2 years before.  This is a cause for concern, due to lack of growth, for the 14,000 stores spread out across the US.  Lets analyze where they are going wrong.

  • Food is unhealthy – Our society has taken a turn towards healthier alternatives and McDonald’s reputation is the Big Mac and nuggets as stated above.  They’ve tried to add healthier options but lets face it, healthy people don’t eat at McDonald’s regardless.  It’s like being a fitness model and walking into Jenny Craig.
  • Reviews like these – I must add that these are not the best areas in Phillymcdonaldsphilly
  • Service like this –  I found this picture on Yelp (there are dozens more) at a McDonalds on Market St (you know, Philly’s central street in Center City) that had this comment:  “This is their definition of a large fries! Ordered 3 large fries and each were not fully filled as promised! Disappointing!”Large Fry at Mcdonalds
  • 1424466706337It’s McDonalds – Since 1940 McDonald’s has been a staple of American culture.  Trying to change it’s image is like steering a thousand foot ship.  It’s known for unhealthy burgers, fattening fries, and huge tooth decaying drinks.  The customers who enjoy McDonalds are the sloth of society.  Sure their breakfast is delicious but people out there are making efforts to steer away from McDonalds.

 

What Should McDonald’s do?

  • Super Size MeThe general stigma is McDonald’s makes you fat.  The food has horrible ingredients and documentaries like Super Size Me have exposed this.  What McDonald’s should do is make a reverse documentary showing how someone can live off McDonald’s and with proper exercise and balance, they can become a contributing member of society.
  • Another obvious place to start is improving the employee morale.  Yes they make minimum wage but after reading those Google reviews, they obviously don’t give a fuck.  This is a huge area to improve although I’m aware that some McDonald’s in nicer areas are probably clean and tidy.
  • New CEO

    New CEO

    It’s time to 180.  Bring back Ronald McDonald as the spokesperson and have him do serious speeches as a clown.  Embace the Big Mac and turn it into the Big Heart Attack.  Offer Chicken Nuggets that ARE ACTUALLY HEALTHY.  Make the drive thru’s have games to play where customer win free food with positive results.  Everyone knows how popular that shitty Monopoly game is where no one ever gets Boardwalk.  Concede to all day breakfast, obviously.

It’s all in the image.  Smarter people than me are working on this issue.  I  personally have no problem with McDonald’s but it would be quite the American tragedy if it were to crumble in bankruptcy (which is certainly not the case).

 

My Top Websites To Visit

rabbitWhen Alex comments he links his name to what.com.  I have no idea if this is on purpose or not but I learned this yesterday.  What I found was a site categorizing headlines from major news sites like Google, Rolling Stone, and CNet.  The tagline is, “Everything that’s hot, top, now, popular and what.”  The site is moderately entertaining.

With no sense if Alex actually meant to lead me to this site, I figured I’d make a post of useful sites I visit and that you should probably too.  I’d ask you to comment on your favorite sites but this will fall on blind eyes.  Cute little bunny though.

 

Top Websites

redditReddit.com – If you don’t read Reddit, you are behind the internet.  Top stories are always popping up on Reddit first.  Reddit is user based which means the community posts and than upvotes determine what makes the first page.  If you make the first page, you are a boss who gets tons of attention.   This is why information is always posted ASAP because people yearn for the notoriety.   Not to mention that the NSFW pics are always top notch.   This site is especially useful if you are bored.  The commentors are also some of the smartest people and this is half the fun of perusing Reddit.  I don’t frequent the subreddits except celebs.

yahooYahoo.com – Call me a dinosaur but I actually like Yahoo.  I think their slideshow of 50+ stories are sort of hokey but they keep me up to date.  The finance section is one of the best and I have an affinity for their fantasy sports.  I think they are also trying to be more hip as they show stories from other sites like SBnation, Sports Illustrated, and the Huffington Post.  I’m sure this selection will draw the harshest criticism.

unnamedTwitter.com – The only way to stay current with Twitter is to check it non-stop.  The top comments are always the ones left immediately after the tweet has been posted.  I unfortunately don’t do that.  I have it on my phone and will check it when I’m really bored.  I wish I could comment on more tweets and actually tweet more myself but it’s a full time job to be witty on Twitter.  I still think this is the most fascinating means of communication because it comes directly from the source.

barstoolBarstool.com – I’m not as big of a stoolie as I once was because I find their content to be watered down with the increased amount of bloggers.  I can’t stand the re-post because it shows a lack of professionalism.  I also am tired of the Guess That … and most of the material is drab.  Pres is hilarious though and worth getting his slant on any major sporting event.  This is where you get an inside scoop on topics that fly under the radar.  Don’t forget the merch. “Hats are fire pres! You did it again you dirty dog!”

Mountain Life At Lake Naomi

Lighting isn't my strong suit.

Lighting isn’t my strong suit.

This past weekend my family took a trip that was a little different than the norm. My mom planned / rented a house in the Pocono community called Lake Naomi. As most people head to the shore for MDW, we headed to the mountains. My mom and I drove up together in a quick 2 hour drive up the Northeast Extension. We got there around 4 and went for a walk to the clubhouse. This picture was taken by the “beach”.  I’m adding this sentence just so the picture below lines up appropriately.

Lake Naomi

Lake Naomi

When we got back I went for a run around Lake Naomi which was about 4-5 miles around the perimeter. Laura, Brookes, and my dad had all arrived when I returned and we ate some lasagna and meatballs for dinner. Jeff got in around 9 and we watched the basketball game before going to sleep. Wild night, I know.

Hole 6 at Timber Trails

Hole 6 at Timber Trails

The next morning we went out for breakfast at Jubilee which is a crowded restaurant spot.  JC’s stories had my mom cringing at breakfast.  Jeff and I made a tee time for 9:30 am. It was a little chilly but a perfect day otherwise. We got our guest badges which were needed for the course and played 9 holes.  Afterwards we went to Tobyhanna state park and walked around a bit. We then went to Brady’s Lake and almost got lost on a 2 hour hike. Many thoughts were pondered like the teapot god.

Family Pic

I should probably Photoshop myself and Sam in.

After getting home we went to eat at Robert Christians which looked like it never was updated from 1975. The 2 hour lengthy meal was entertaining and the food was delicious. JC made sure to tell us about his brilliant idea of a counter on articles of clothes that tells you how many times its been worn.  He even made sure to tell the patrons next to us.  Once again we got back at around 10, we were all pooped from the day.

Zlatan teeing off on a perfect day

Zlatan teeing off on a perfect day

On Sunday morning everyone woke up around 8 am and had some breakfast cooked by my mom. I went for a run around the lake before breakfast and it was quite enjoyable even though.  The morning was highlighted by Spurs game which won me 60, netted 40. We headed to the beach after that where I got unexpectantly sun burnt. Jeff and I played another 9 holes where Timber Trails got the better of us yet again. We had dinner at the club and headed back to the house to watch the basketball game which seems like I’m writing on repeat.

I colored a cat all by myself.

I colored a cat all by myself.

Jeff and I left on Monday morning around 8 and golfed with the Shee at Mainland. It was a beautiful day and I have to hope the cart girl reads this entry because she was a knockout. After the round I stopped over Matt and Jess Baker’s memorial day cookout for a few hours. We shot the shit and relaxed and concluded what was probably the first memorial day weekend where I can remember every detail.  JKash, Amber, and Jordan were also there which should immediately up readership at their mention.

how-lucky-i-am-to-have-something-that-makes-saying-goodbye-so-hard-64The hardest part about these vacations is that they end. We only get so many family vacations in our lifetime and the older you get, you know it’s one less. The working week picks up today and we are all thrown right back into the rat race. When you are young you don’t think about it this way because you always expect there to be another time. The reality is that the world doesn’t stop turning. I want to take this last sentence and say how grateful I am to have my family at this stage in my life who can still get together for a weekend like we did this week.  No worries, Sam.  Next time.

The Take on Sports in 2015

Fact: 1961 Gallup poll showed 34% of Americans named baseball their favorite sport, football 21%. In 1968 football passes baseball in popularity.

Fiction: 2015 TC poll showed 38% of Americans named football their favorite sport, basketball 30%, baseball 15%, hockey, 5%. soccer 5%, UFC/Boxing 2%, other 5%.

 

Looking at sports in 2015

Do kids still love MJ?  Or is it all Lebron, KD, and Steph?

Do kids still love MJ? Or is it all Lebron, KD, and Steph?

Basketball – All you need to practice and play is a ball and a hoop to shoot at which makes the game easily accessible.  Another huge plus is that youths have a great set of role models to look up to in Lebron, KD, Westbrook, Harden, and Steph.   These top guys are unreal on the court and give young kids a major ceiling to aim for.  Basketball is extremely popular in urban environments due to lack of space, many people can play at one time, and simplicity of the game.  When viewing the game as a whole, it’s constant excitement, a great source of exercise, and requires a high skill level to succeed.

Bart Starr - Winner of Superbowl I

Bart Starr – Winner of Superbowl I

Football – It’s a game that breaks down into two segments: playing in a league or playing for fun every once in a while.  Not every kid can afford league fees and pads which limits participation.  Injury is also a high probability when playing. However, football is by far the most exciting game on the planet right now. The skill that the top athletes possess is mind boggling when watching athletes like JJ Watt, Odell Beckham, and Gronkowski. The game is fast as lightning and rewarding for making big plays.  The game is so popular with the advent of fantasy football that there is no sport that holds the same excitement level right now.

** FILE ** Retired Yankees slugger Babe Ruth warms up with three bats before stepping to the plate at New York's Yankee Stadium, in an August 21, 1942 photo. He was 40, with a pot belly that couldn't be supported by his spindly legs and a growing realization his career was over. His batting average hovered nearly 200 points below his career mark, and his pitchers were unhappy with his inability to run down even the easiest of fly balls.

The Babe was 40, with a pot belly that couldn’t be supported by his spindly legs and a growing realization his career was over.

Baseball – A game that is on the decline. A WSJ article reports that baseball lost 3.5 million youth participants over the course of the last 15 years. The lack of likability stems from a game that has been tarnished with steroid use and is lacking an excitement factor. Back in the 50’s, society was blown away by microwaves. With less to do back then, more people were paying attention and the environment would get electric which just upped the games prestige. Today with other options, the slower paced game with spurts of physical movement has taken a backseat to more energy. The other downside of the game is that you need 9 people to play on a team which limits how you can practice.

Pele is considered the world's greatest soccer player.

Pele is considered the world’s greatest soccer player.

Soccer – Consider there were 800,000 youth participants in 1980 in USA. Today that number is at 3 million and has been holding steady for the last 15 years. Soccer, or futbol, is the world’s game. A cheap form of entertainment that demands a high skill set due to the difficult nature of controlling a ball with your feet. Speed is a major factor as well which makes fitness an integral part. A ball and a 2 goals are the only equipment needed and scrimmages can occur with any amount of players. Professional games tend to lack the pizzazz of football and basketball but the crowd loves the patience and strategy required to score goals. The fan base deserves a salute to their level of dedication for their home team.

Hockey player Borje Salming took a blade to the face during a game and it took nearly 200 stiches to put his face back together.

Hockey player Borje Salming took a blade to the face during a game and it took nearly 200 stiches to put his face back together.

Hockey – Even writing about it seems pointless because I know virtually nothing about it. I’d presume that the cost to play is high and unless you can afford skates, pads, and rink time, you aren’t playing. A fast paced game that seems incredibly difficult when trying to control a puck that flies 100mph while you’re moving at top speed on ice skates. The fighting has an allure to it but also comes off as mostly pointless and barbaric.

Royce Gracie - The winner of UFC1

Royce Gracie – The winner of UFC1

UFC / Boxing – No real cost to practice because all you have to do is pick fights off the street.  In reality, once you can afford gym time and have access to a training facility, you can develop yourself into a lean, mean, fighting machine. The advantages to winning every fight holds a degree of importance in the ring but I find the opportunities to use these skills in the real world sparse. Top fighters are becoming bona fide stars and making money to blow.  The biggest downside is that you are constantly getting punched in the head.

These Posts Are Going To Be Good

I apologize for the slow posting but I have about 4 posts in drafts right now that I’m not sitting down and doing.  I’ve decided that I’m going to try to do more research before posting and up the level of quality for my posts.  Usually it’s whatever pops in my head but since that only works so well, I know I need to do more.

mongolsThe biker gang violence in Texas for some reason fascinates me.  I bought Hunter S. Thompson’s book about Biker Gangs in the late 60’s and started reading it.  I  intend to finish that, which will take a few days, and then write a post on biker gangs in their current state with the latest investigation headlining it.  Anyone else think the bar being called Twin Peaks is awesome?

Another post in the pipeline is to have a recap on # of viewers of season finale’s.  This became a light bulb for me after reviewing the numbers of the finale of Mad Men when compared to others.  The point I’d focus on is why the quality of later seasons tend to dip (seeing it big time in GoT this season) and how that affects viewers.

75421eacfaab9a264ada311e69a0d9aeI also want to write a post on the decline of baseball as a whole and why youth (7-17) baseball participants has dropped from 8.8 million to 5.3 in 15 years.  There was an article in the WSJ that I read today that had a lot of good points but I think I could expand further for the decline and give reasons on how to swing it back.

As you can tell, these posts aren’t usually sit down for 30 minutes and write a post.  I actually have the time to write but I’ve just been occupying it with more mindless activities like watching Mercury Rising, the Iverson doc on Showtime, Montage of Heck on HBO, and also Playoff Bball.   So stick with the site.  I’ll spend some time tonight and then tomorrow morning before I’m away for the weekend to get some material up.

Losing Touch With Video Games

Spyro on the Portal of Power

Spyro on the Portal of Power

There is a video game called Skylanders that was released in 2011.   Games in the series are played by placing character figures on the “Portal of Power”, a device that reads the figures’ tags through NFC and “imports” the character represented by the figure into the game as a playable character.  Essentially, an interactive, action figure collecting, video game.  Please pardon my ignorance if I get some info wrong but I’m old.

 

Where have I been?

“Wait…this is only PART of an OLD collection!?“

“Wait…this is only PART of an OLD collection!?“

Activision (the creator of Guitar Hero and Call of Duty) has apparently nailed another dream for younger (and older nerdy) gamers.  As of February 2015, the Skylanders series has crossed the threshold of $3 billion in sales, with 175 million toys sold since 2011, making the series one of the top 20 highest-selling video game franchises of all time.

 

Toys as characters?

4 years after the release I’m finally learning that gamers are purchasing action figures, standing them on the “Portal of Power”, and having the character interact with the video game.  Let me see if I can nail down the allure without ever having played the game or saw a figurine.

  • Don't mess with this fucker.

    Don’t mess with this fucker.

    Figurines are seen as collectibles.  The same way a rare “magic” card was desirable; harder to find figurines are worth spending for.

  • My assumption is some figurines are better than other figurines and thus worth more money?
  • The ability to purchase and collect weapons.  The same way Diablo had better, more unique weapons, this game does as well.
  • Ability to brag that your character is better than your friends.  So not only is he better in the game, but you can bring him over to your friends’ house and show off how much more kick ass he is in real life.

Even McDonalds has gotten into the craze offering free toys.  I’d guess these are shitty version but hats off to smart marketing to the 10+ year old gamers.

 

News Travels Slow to the Old

Bulwinkle J. Moose

Bulwinkle J. Moose

When I see this I wonder how this is the first I’ve ever heard of a craze so rampant amongst the younger generation? This has been going on for years and 175 million action figures of only this game have been sold. I have to imagine there are other consoles offering competing versions and the demand for “cool” characters like Batman, Scooby Doo, and Bulwinkle exist. What a concept. It just shows how easy it is to be out of touch with a generation when you never interact with them.

WSJ Tidbits

I’m going to italicize some statements from Wall Street Journal articles and comment on them below.

First image that popped up when I searched "Lane Bryant"

First image that popped up when I searched “Lane Bryant”

“He says some 40% of American women wear size 14 and above.  The plus size market in the US account for roughly $9 billion in revenue and is expected to grow strongly through 2019, according to IBISworld Inc.”

I found it somewhat haunting that with all the facts surrounding obesity that a marketing company is predicting that the plus size market will continue to get stronger over the next 4 years.

 

 

kenya-tribesmen-phone-490x250Less than 20% of Africans use the internet.  However, the continent’s youth are increasingly getting online, creating an enormous potential market.  {On taxi drivers} they also both take cash and payment via cellphone in a country where fewer than 3% of people have credit cards but more than 90% have mobile phones.  

This article was going over Uber’s expansion into Africa and the challenges for safety and payment.  If only 3% of people have credit cards, new payment methods are needed.  The general thought in Kenya is that civilians will not get into cars with people they do not know.  Other services are hiring known commodity drivers to compete with Uber.

 

 

Skechers was quite happy when Meb won the 2014 Boston Marathon

Skechers was quite happy when Meb won the 2014 Boston Marathon

Skechers accounted for 5% of the sports-footwear market…moving past Adidas AG’s 4.6% as well as the 4% notched by Asics and New Balance.  Nike Inc… accounts for 62% of athletic shoes sold in the US.  Most of Skecher’s growth has come from its walking and casual footwear segments.  

I knew Nike was big but wasn’t exactly aware of how big.  Skechers also doesn’t strike me as an athletic shoe so the 5% also surprised me.  I can’t really see myself ever trying a pair of Skechers running shoes but call me close minded.